Peachy Dress

Blush1Judging from my blog, you’d think I’ve completely given up on sewing and knitting, wouldn’t you? But I haven’t, not at all! I blame Instagram for the languishing of this space: it is so much easier instagramming what I’m working on or what I’ve just finished than bothering to clear up the space where I’m taking my blog pictures (you didn’t think it was always this pared-down, did you?), set up the camera and tripod, and check my hair, and strike a pose, and blah, blah, blah.

But I’ve decided to stop with the slothfulness and blog those unblogged garments already! My obsessive nature compels me to present them in the order I made them, so we’ll start with this dress I finished in, ahem, February!

Blush3The fabric was a birthday gift from Mimolette, who knew I had been fawning over Atelier Brunette’s beautiful designs but hadn’t taken the plunge yet (I have since bought three meters of this beauty). Bye Bye Birdie Blush: gotta love the alliteration. My birthday’s at the very end of September, so this fabric only spent five months in my stash, not too bad compared to the usual lot of fabrics in my house.

Like all cottons, it was very nice to sew with, but man does it wrinkle! Also, it has a tendency to forget that it’s 100% cotton and sometimes attracts lint like a common synthetic. I mostly wear it with this cardigan, which I wear with a lot of other pieces, yet this dress is the only one it sheds tiny pieces of black fluff on. Not that big of a deal, but it was surprising at first.

Blush4The pattern is from Stylish Dress Book 3 (Dress B). It’s a very simple pattern so I was sure I’d be finished in no time, but you know me, I’m never finished in no time!

I quickly realised that with such a light-coloured fabric, I’d have to add a lining or run the risk of putting my underpinnings on display. Luckily I had some beige Bemberg rayon in my stash, and putting in the lining was not too difficult. I did have to think twice about how to manage around the neckline facing and the sleeves, and finally opted to simply attach the lining by hand at the sleeves (but by machine everywhere else). While we’re on the sleeves, I trimmed those with a very small piece of this lovely cream lace (oops, still haven’t started on that blouse!).

Blush5I had planned on adding patch pockets to the dress, but later realised that there was no way the pockets I had in mind would work with the gathers of the skirt. So I had to ditch them in favour of side seam pockets, for which I had to unpick and redo the side seams of the skirt, argh!

Blush2The only thing I’m not happy about with looking at the finished dress is how high the waist is compared to the dropped waist I was imagining. I should have measured the pieces beforehand and compared them with my other dropped waist dress. Like most sewing mistakes, it never bothers me while wearing the dress, but I’ll definitely lower the waist if I ever sew that pattern again.

Now only eight more finished projects to blog to catch up on my backlog!

Babydoll Dress

Babydoll1Much better, don’t you think? Let me remind you what it looked like before:

Before1.1

Meh with or without a belt.

Side view: what the FUPA?!

Side view: what the FUPA?!

A friend gave me this house dress years ago, when I didn’t know how to sew yet. I loved the fabric and I had quite a quirky sense of style at the time, so yes, I did intend to wear it as it was. But there was a definite problem with the bottom of the button band that created the most unflattering side view, so I actually never wore it. Luckily, the hoarder that I am never got rid of it and when I learnt to sew, it went straight to the to-be-refashioned pile… where it languished for a few more years.

Babydoll2

With the empire waist belt.

It’s not even that I didn’t know how to transform this dress; I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted to do, but I simply never got around to it. But hey, I did get to it in the end and I’m really happy with the result, which is exactly what I had in mind!

There are pockets now!

There are pockets now!

Here’s a list of the changes I made:

– I cut the dress under the bust and under the button band and sewed the bottom part of the dress to the top (after unpicking the side seams at the bust to remove the bust darts that were much too low and restitching the side seams without darts).

– I lined the bottom part of the dress (with turquoise Bemberg rayon – oops, forgot to show that in the pictures!) in order for it not to cling to the tights.

– I used the discarded middle part of the dress to make two patch pockets, which I underlined with the same Bemberg rayon lining so that they are more stable.

– I shortened the sleeves to a more flattering length.

– I added six belt loops at the empire waist to hold the belt (or any thin belt as a matter of fact) in place.

– I changed the buttons.

Babydoll4I initially hesitated between leaving the empire waist as is or elasticizing it, and I found adding belt loops was a better solution since it allowed me to wear the dress both ways. And with the way I placed the belt loops, I can also tie the belt at the back, so I have more styling options!

BabydollDetail1I love the new buttons. The old ones were green and silver and much too small, both aesthetically and for the buttonholes. The new ones are the right size, the right colour and shiny as can be!

BabydollDetail2Don’t look at the above picture for too long or you could get a headache (I know I did!). No, I didn’t sew the pocket with the fabric upside down: there are flowers and leaves facing up and others facing down. In any case, I love this fabric! It’s this almost bathing suit like material (I think it’s a polyester knit) but it drapes really well and, although I was afraid it wouldn’t be breathable enough, it is in fact very comfortable to wear.

And I love refashioning! I got a new dress for much less money (I only had to buy four buttons and 50 cm of lining), work and time than if I had started it from scratch! Plus I love seeing the face of the people who compliment me on it when I tell them that it used to be a grandma house dress. 🙂